"Her Web of Deceit and Lies”

Sandra Bridewell's never been convicted of murder. But now she's got federal forgery charges pending, which makes her like, what, Al Capone?

It's been, what, six days since our last item on the Black Widow; we're due an update, right? Especially when it turns out to be this interesting: Yesterday, former Dallas resident Sandra Bridewell was supposed to be in court in Brunswick County, North Carolina, to ask for a bail reduction so she could get out of jail. As you no doubt recall, since March 2 Bridewell's been in the county jail in Bolivia, North Carolina, on charges of fraud and forgery, and her bail was set at $1.5 million.

Close to home, friends and family of Alan Rehrig -- Bridewell’s third husband, who was murdered in 1985 -- were worried that Bridewell, the only suspect in that crime, would get out of jail on Wednesday. But yesterday, the 62-year-old former femme fatale didn’t even show. Instead, Brunswick County Assistant District Attorney Brooke Leland announced that “more sting” had been added to Bridewell's prosecution, because earlier this week, Bridewell was slapped with a charge “changing account information to have benefits paid by the Social Security Administration deposited into another account.”

And that's a federal offense. According to one source, Bridewell was captured on audiotape trying to change the address of an elderly woman to whom she was tending in order to steal her Social Security checks. After the jump, Leland's press release. --Glenna Whitley

From Brooke Leland's press release: “Here in Brunswick County we originally charged Ms. Powers, and were holding her for trial, on charges that would have resulted in no more than eight (8) months in prison, combined with lengthy probation. Yesterday (July 10) defendant Powers was charged in Federal Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina with crimes that could lead to over 20 years in Federal custody.

The cooperation between local law enforcement and my office and federal investigators and the US Attorney’s office for the Eastern District have enabled us to move this defendant to a level of jeopardy that appears more appropriate for her crimes.

Because the Federal authorities are pursuing their charges, we have taken dismissal of all charges in Brunswick County. The dismissal of State charges is necessary in order to avoid double jeopardy issues. The Defendant is being held in the Brunswick County jail awaiting transport to federal custody…

Because the defendant had no criminal record, under North Carolina’s structured sentencing law, the only charge for which she could have gotten an active sentence was obtaining property by false pretense, which carries a maximum sentence of 8 months … The other charges carry only probationary sentencing options for a judge.

While this case has gained national attention because of Ms. Powers’ notoriety, I want to point out that when Detective Jayne Todd began her investigation, she was looking for the person who had defrauded 77-year-old Sue Moseley … not a search for the ‘Black Widow’ … We feel that the developments we are announcing today ensnare her securely in her own web of deceit and lies.”

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky